Etihad Airways is keen to expand its network in the US, said President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan. Mr Hogan disclosed that the US specifically is among the highest performing regions across the airline’s global network, with an average 81% load factor in 2012. On existing routes – New York and Chicago – a significant portion of premium bookings are for travel to/from Abu Dhabi, with 72% of First Class passengers and 53% of Business Class passengers starting or ending their journey in Abu Dhabi. To date, Etihad Airways has flown nearly 1.5m passengers to and from the US since commencing services to New York in 2006 and Chicago in 2009. The airline will launch its third US route on March 31st, 2013, with daily non-stop flights between Washington, D.C. and its home base of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The route will be operated by a three-class Airbus A340-500 aircraft.